Baxter-Hathaway family in Chile

Updated: Jul 4

We thank Myriam Baxter for sending us a brief history of her great-grandfather in Chile. Another great Anglo Chilean connection!


Jhon Baxter Turner arrived in Chile around 1870 contracted by the Chilean government as a locomotive engineer, at that time Chile was experiencing the boom in the exploitation of saltpeter and they needed a means of transport to take the mineral to the northern ports...it was then that The Chilean government buys locomotives from England.


John Baxter was born in 1844 in Walsall, an industrial town in the county of West Midlands, northwest of Birmingham and west of Wolverhampton.


The first Chilean railways were built in the north of the country in the mid-19th century by private capital.


Beginning in the 1850s, the state acquired shares in railway companies or entire railways, such as the Valparaíso-Santiago railway in 1858 and the Southern railway company in 1873.


Due to the important commercial development experienced by Valparaíso after independence, an alternative transport between the capital and its main port in the country was necessary.


Jhon Baxter Turner works a period of about 2 years in the nitrate fields and then married, he moved to Valparaíso where he worked as a machinist at first between the Puerto station and the interior of the region. Four of his children were born there... then he was transferred to Santa Rosa de los Andes where his another 5 children of which three died at a young age.


John Baxter returns to Valparaiso after several years, already a widower and with teenage children who stay with their grandparents, the youngest and the oldest married, making their lives.


John Baxter died on February 4, 1909 in Santiago de Chile.


John's family resides in England, being the second of 7 siblings, he is the only one who learns the machinist's trade at an early age, like his father, also called John, his mother is a housewife named Ann Turner.


The family, due to the father's work, moved to different places in England, his last place of residence being Rugby, from where John Jr. left, to South America from the port of Liverpool.